The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 45% of all Americans have high blood pressure — that’s more than 108 million people.
Unfortunately, many of them don’t even realize they have it because hypertension is typically asymptomatic in its early stages. But if it’s left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, organ damage, aneurysms, blood clots, kidney disease, and more.
The only way to know for sure if you’re dealing with this silent killer is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Here at Premier Family Physicians in Bastrop, Texas, Dr. Pompeyo Chavez takes your blood pressure seriously and offers these practical tips for keeping it at a healthy level.
Step up your exercise routine
One of the most effective ways to lower high blood pressure is to exercise more. Focus on cardiovascular activities that keep your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes every day, or at least most days throughout the week. Increasing your activity level can lower your blood pressure by 5-8 points.
Watch what you eat and drink
You may be tempted to ditch salads for comfort foods. Sadly, what comforts your taste buds and your soul can wreak havoc with your blood pressure. Stay away from saturated fats and highly salted foods (read labels!) and stick with fresh fruits and veggies with lots of potassium.
While you’re watching your diet, make sure you keep an eye on your caffeine and alcohol intake, too, as these can ramp up your blood pressure in no time.
Not everyone with high blood pressure is overweight, but if you are, your risk of complications is even higher. The more excess weight you carry around, the more stress you put on your whole body, which taxes its resources and also increases your blood pressure.
Fortunately, adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine should come with the bonus of helping you maintain a healthy weight, so you get a triple-whammy benefit. And you only need to lose a little more than 2 pounds to lower your blood pressure by a full point!
Stop stressing out
High stress and high blood pressure go hand in hand, so if you live and/or work under pressure, find ways to reduce or manage your stress.
Look for ways to lighten your schedule, delegate responsibilities when possible, resolve conflicts, forgive, learn to say no, and tone down perfectionism.
Exercise can help relieve stress, as can yoga, gentle stretching, massage therapy, prayer, meditation, and breathing exercises.
If you smoke, quit. Nothing good comes from smoking, if you have high blood pressure, it can tank your efforts to lower it. But once you kick the habit, your blood pressure measurements
should show an instant improvement.
Help for high blood pressure
While high blood pressure poses a serious threat to your health and your life, there’s a lot you can do to control the problem. In addition to the list of at-home steps we’ve provided here, Dr. Chavez may prescribe medication if your hypertension is especially problematic or dangerous.
We monitor you closely and work alongside you to keep your blood pressure controlled at a healthy level so you can enjoy a full and active life. If you have high blood pressure or haven’t had yours checked, schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff at 512-262-4699 or booking online today.